Murder of Wharlest Jackson

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Wharlest Jackson (1930–1967) was the treasurer of the Natchez, Mississippi branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People until his assassination by a car bomb, which was placed on the frame of his truck under the driver side seat[1]. The bomb went off at approximate 8pm on February 27th, 1967. This supposedly occurred when he switched on his turn signal on his way home. [2]The explosion caused serious damage to Wharlest's lower torso and he died on the scene. The scene of his death was six blocks away from the site that he was employed[3][1], Armstrong Rubber and Tire Company. The culprit was never found, and while the FBI suspected the involvement of the Silver Dollar Group, an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan, there was no investigation that came up with a conclusion or a culprit, despite the ten thousand pages of FBI documentation and evidence.[4][5]

Jackson was a Korean War veteran, married with five children, who worked at the Armstrong Rubber and Tire Company for twelve years.[6] The company had several white employees affiliated with the Klan, and under pressure from civil rights activists the company management had opened more positions to African Americans and promoted Jackson to a more advanced explosives-mixing position that had previously been held only by whites.[5]The promotion was heavily opposed by his wife, but the pay of 17 cents meant that his wife could quit her job as a cook at an all-black school and spend more time with their kids.[7] Exerlena Jackson, Wharlest Jackson's wife, later commented "I begged him not to take that job". Just two years earlier the same circumstances had befallen a friend of the Jackson family, Metacalfe. He was the president of the local NAACP and Wharlest worked under him as treasurer. After receiving a promotion at Armstrong Rubber and Tire Company, Metacalfe got into his car and started the ignition, causing a similar explosion and injuring him severely. The Jackson family took him in and nursed him back to health until he returned to his job a year later. No one was ever charged on this case either. [7] The person who first came upon Wharlest Jackson after the accident was his son, Wharlest Jackson Jr., who recounted "When I made it to him he was lying in the street... his shoe was blown off and the truck was mangled".[2] The cases are still in the backlogs of the FBI, and out of 109 similar cases only two have been solved.

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  1. ^ a b "Wharlest Jackson". 2017-08-02. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  2. ^ a b Peyronnin, Joe; Professor, ContributorHofstra Journalism (2011-02-18). "Cold Case: Wharlest Jackson". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  3. ^ "Wharlest Jackson". 2017-08-02. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  4. ^ Newton, M. (2010). The Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi: A History. McFarland, Incorporated Publishers. p. 173. ISBN 9780786457045. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  5. ^ a b Bullard, S.; Bond, J. (1994). Free At Last: A History of the Civil Rights Movement and Those Who Died in the Struggle. Oxford University Press. p. 94. ISBN 9780199762279. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  6. ^ Carter, D.C. (2012). The Music Has Gone Out of the Movement: Civil Rights and the Johnson Administration, 1965-1968. University of North Carolina Press. p. 240. ISBN 9781469606576. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  7. ^ a b "Wharlest Jackson Case | The Civil Rights Cold Case Project". Retrieved 2019-05-27.

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